“We ask them questions about where they’ve been so that we can gauge who may be at risk. It may come out as part of the interview, but we ask more open-ended questions.”
The City reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio instructed “test and tracers” not to ask anyone who tests positive for the Wuhan coronavirus if they attended any of the protests or riots in response to the death of George Floyd.
De Blasio made this decision despite having concerns the protests and riots could spark another wave and his city being the epicenter of America’s outbreak.
From The City:
The hundreds of contact tracing workers hired by the city under de Blasio’s new “test and trace” campaign have been instructed not to ask anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a demonstration, City Hall confirmed to THE CITY.
“No person will be asked proactively if they attended a protest,” Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for de Blasio, wrote in an emailed response to questions by THE CITY.
Instead, test-and-trace workers ask COVID-positive individuals general questions to help them “recall ‘contacts’ and individuals they may have exposed,” Cohen said. Among the initial questions: “Do you live with anyone in your home?”
Tracers then ask about “close contacts” — defined as being within six feet of another person for at least 10 minutes.
It’s up to tested individuals to volunteer whether any of those close contacts occurred during protests. “If a person wants to proactively offer that information, there is an opportunity for them to do so,” Cohen wrote.
De Blasio announced the “test and trace” campaign on May 8. NYC officials said most people have cooperated with the tracers, but others “have refused to volunteer any information about their close contacts.”
The City wrote the medical chain CityMD is a “key source of tests” in New Jersey and Long Island. It seems different clinics have different questions:
A New Yorker who called up CityMD last week to get an appointment for a test after witnessing a daunting line at one of the clinics told THE CITY that the CityMD staff asked the individual whether they’d attended a protest.
In Nassau County, health officials take a slightly different approach. While they do not ask individuals who test positive whether they’ve attended protests, they do ask them where they’ve been recently.
“We ask them questions about where they’ve been so that we can gauge who may be at risk,” said Mary Ellen Laurain, a spokesperson for the Nassau County Health Department. “It may come out as part of the interview, but we ask more open-ended questions.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to know if the protests and riots have led to new cases, but his health department is staying “neutral:”
Jonah Bruno, an agency spokesperson, stated, “We’re working with New York City to balance the public health priority while also protecting personal privacy, as we seek to ensure a thorough contact tracing program that helps us contain the COVID-19 virus and monitor any fluctuations in the infection rate as we continue reopening New York.”
I can understand not wanting to invade a person’s privacy. I also get that it would be hard for them “to trace those” someone protested with.
But I don’t think they have the purest motives.
The protests and riots placed the left in a difficult position since they have pushed so many restrictions on citizens due to the pandemic. This included social distancing.
They also faced calls of hypocrisy because they ranted against President Donald Trump’s future rallies, but supported the protests and riots.DONATE
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